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We Used to Be Friends

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A few years ago, a new show came out called Veronica Mars. It was on the CW and I remember hearing about it, but mostly decided against watching it. I can't remember the exact reasons, but it was probably because I stopped watching new shows after Firefly was cancelled. Plus, Buffy was still fresh in my mind and a good show about a spunky young girl who fought bad guys just didn't seem like lightning that could strike twice.

Then I remember learning that Jeeg was watching the show. And again, I can't remember the exact reason why he was, but his recommendation of the show immediately meant it would go on my list of shows to check out on DVD. Eventually, I did watch it. And loved it. And I watched and purchased all three seasons.

There is sometimes some risk in purchasing a show on DVD. Watch it once, sure. But can it be rewatched and still retain the magic? Will it hold up or be worth viewing multiple times? Let me tell you that it can. If you have not watched Veronica Mars ever, or have not watched it recently, I suggest you put this on your Netflix (well, Qwikster, I guess) queue or track the discs down and rectify the situation immediately.

The show was not especially groundbreaking, but had a mixture of elements that made for enjoyable television, a show that I would easily place in my top ten list of television series of all time. For as fun as a show like Buffy was playing in the high school setting, Veronica Mars pulled it off even better. In my mind, Buffy's biggest fault was that the main character, though likable, was the least likable character on the show. In Veronica Mars, Veronica was the best character surrounded by a (for the most part) wonderful supporting and recurring cast.

I mentioned on the blog once before the idea of casting Kristen Bell as Amy Allen in an A-Team movie. It's not too late. This could still be done in the likely never-to-be-made sequel to the awesome A-Team movie. My suggestion is based off the fact that Veronica Mars is a spiritual successor to John "Hannibal" Smith. Long time followers of this blog know that is high praise coming from me. Veronica's sense of justice, strong moral code, and ability to concoct beautiful plans that come together make her Hannibal for a new generation. Kristen Bell plays the part beautifully with the right touches of humor, sass, and strength. If I was the kind of guy to write fan fiction, and I'm not, I would write a story featuring a team up between Veronica Mars and Hannibal Smith. (I would also include Gul Dukat in the story just for that one guy who searched for "Gul Dukat fan fiction" and found our blog for some reason.)

Second to Veronica, but not by much, is her father, Keith Mars. I remember being skeptical of the casting of Enrico Colantoni as a former sheriff turned P.I. Sure, I liked him in Galaxy Quest and on the occasions I'd catch Just Shoot Me, he was fine. I had no idea the screen presence he'd have. I could have watched a show all about him.

There are a whole host of other characters, some regular cast and others bit parts that were recurring. I should mention Logan, the former friend, turned enemy, turned lover. The character was well-written and portrayed. I did feel his relationship with Veronica took away from Veronica as a character more than it added to it. But in some ways, he was her "Kryptonite" and the eventual outcome of that relationship could have been very satisfying. Also, a key role was Wallace, the "Watson" to Veronica's "Holmes," although, that's not incredibly apt. He was under-utilized in my opinion, especially by the end.

This list doesn't cover all the main or recurring cast members. It would be a shame not to mention Sherif Don Lamb, Weevil, Mac, Cliff, Vinny, Piz, or Dick.

In seasons 1 and 2, the show featured season-long mysteries with each episode providing clues towards solving that season's mystery, but also featuring an episodic-specific, small (usually school-related) mystery. Season 1 focused on the murder of Veronica's best friend Lilly. The resolution of this over-arcing mystery was satisfying, although I don't believe it was planned out from day one. That aside, season one is the strongest of the seasons, perhaps because of the freshness of the show and the strength of the minor mysteries.

Season 2's over-arcing mystery involved a bus crash that takes place in the first episode where some students and the driver are killed. It is quickly believed by Veronica and her dad that this crash was orchestrated. Season 2 is another incredibly strong, well-written season. It's weakness came in some of the supporting cast not being as strong. But the resolution of the season-long mystery was very well done and served to tie up loose ends from season 1 as well.

Season 3 took a departure from its predecessors. Instead of solving one, season-long mystery, there were three over-arcing storylines: (1) a series of rapes which was set actually set up in season 2, (2) the murder of the dean, and (3) a yet unformed plot dealing with a secret society at the college that likely would have carried over into season 4. Season 3 is still watchable and enjoyable, but not nearly as good as the two previous seasons. The loss of the one, season-long storyline hurt it as did the heightened smaller stories. More murders and less "find my dog."

The show was canceled and left a few unanswered questions, but things that don't desperately need to be answered. I imagine Jake Kane and his secret society would have taken a prominent role in 4. Also, the resolution of whether or not Keith Mars would retain his job as sheriff would have been answered. The romance drama would have continued on. Veronica would eventually have dumped Piz for Logan again only to dump Logan again later.

After the show was canceled, the producers put together a ten minute pilot that introduced the premise of an alternate take for Veronica Mars. In the pilot, it is four years later and Veronica is working for the FBI. It could have been interesting, but I don't think the show would have been quite as good.

Overall, an excellent show. I'm glad it came along. And I'm glad Jeeg turned me on to it. Not sure I would have jumped on this show without his valued opinion.

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